SHEFFIELD Wednesday outgunned Blackpool on penalties in the Carling Cup but last night lost a duel with Bradford keeper Oscar Jansson and went out of the Johnstone Paint Trophy.
Jansson saved spot kicks from Liam Palmer and Chris Sedgwick as the Bantams won a shoot-out 3-1 after a 0-0 draw. Clinton Morrison hit the opening penalty over the bar.
Ritchie Jones scored for the home team, Palmer’s effort was saved, Michael Flynn made no mistake, Giles Cokes notched the Owls’ only success, Ross Hannah scored though Richard O’Donnell almost saved, then Jansson’s stop from Sedgwick sent Bradford through.
Wednesday had made six changes to the side that started Saturday’s 3-2 win against Scunthorpe and gave a debut to academy centre half Ayo Obileye, who will be 17 on Friday.
Gary Megson also brought in Mark Beevers, Chris Sedgwick, James O’Connor, Mark Reynolds and Danny Uchechi, and rested Lewis Buxton, Julian Bennett, Danny Batth, Rob Jones, Ben Marshall and Gary Madine.
But the Owls made a change in only the second minute.
While they were waiting to take a throw-in, Nicky Weaver ran off to be replaced by Richard O’Donnell.
The keeper did not look injured.
Megson waited only until the 17th minute before resting David Prutton and Jose Semedo and sending on Giles Coke and Cecil Nyoni into central midfield.
At half time there was more talk about Wednesday’s changes and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy rules than about an undistinguished game.
Clubs must field either six, at least, of the players who started the previous game or six who have played in most of the games this season.
Wednesday’s opening line-up seemed to qualify under the latter option.
Megson’s early changes could be frowned upon in certain quarters but he had pledged beforehand to do what he thought was best for the Owls.
Bradford were captained by former Owls centre half Guy Branston and fielded that same team that earned the club’s first win of the season on Saturday against Barnet.
Caretaker manager Colin Cooper remained in charge for last night and new boss Phil Parkinson adopted a watching brief.
Wednesday had Clinton Morrison as a lone central striker though with support from Uchechi, on the left, and Sedgwick, on the right, when they went forward.
Almost 25 minutes of forgettable football from both sides preceded the Owls’ opening strikes at goal, by Morrison, one blocked, the other caught by keeper Oscar Jansson, who is on loan from Spurs.
Coke had a free kick deflected for a corner and sparked the first bit of Wednesday pressure, which brought a half chance for Morrison. He chested down a far-post cross by Sedgwick under pressure and saw his shot from a narrow angle blocked.
The Owls were the dominant side at this point without much finding much penetration. Bradford were even less of a threat until a mistake by Obileye led to a chance in first-half stoppage time.
The centre half should have cleared the ball into the stand but dallied and lost possession; away went Bradford down the left and the move ended with Ritchie Jones heading a good opportunity wide.
Another error by Obileye in the first few minutes of the second half gave Wednesday another close call.
with striker Mark Stewart knocking the ball wide, then O’Donnell had to save from Stewart after a back-header from Obileye fell short.
But it was good work by the teenage centre half when he intercepted a cross by Jack Compton at the near post after the winger had beaten Palmer.
A terrific goalmouth clearance by Nyoni then kept out a Bradford side who had raised their tempo.
Wednesday, having used all three subs so early, could ill afford an injury - and Uchechi was struggling after being kicked by Branston while he was on the ground, though the no-nonsense defender would argue that he was only going for the ball.
The Wednesday forward was soon on the deck again needing attention but was able to continue.
The Owls threatened briefly but were repelled by sound defending, and away went the Bantams again.
A foul by Obileye resulted in a lecture for him from the referee and a 30-yard free kick which was smacked wide by Michael Flynn.
When Jones hit the target with a sweet volley it was kept out by a first-class save from O’Donnell.
Soon afterwards, in the 85th minute, striker James Hanson dragged a shot across goal from a fair position. A tame effort by Uchechi from 25 yards was easy for the Bradford keeper. In the second of three added minutes, centre back Luke Oliver headed a free kick against the top of the bar. Then it was down to penalties.
(Bradford win 3-1 on penalties)
BANTAMS: Jansson 7, Moore 7, Branston 7, Oliver 7, Threlfall 6, Mitchell 6 (Bryan 72), Jones 6, Flynn 6, Compton 7 (O’Brien 85), Stewart 7 (Hannah 56, 6), Hanson, 6. Unused subs: McLaughlin, Hunt.
OWLS: Weaver (O’Donnnell 2, 8), Palmer 7, Obileye 6, Beevers 7, Reynolds 6, Sedgwick 7, Semedo (Coke 17, 7), Prutton (Nyoni 17, 7), O’Connor 6, Uchechi 6, Morrison 6. Unused subs: Lines, Madine.
Referee: Anthony Bates (Stoke).
Attendance: 3,519 (729 away)
Bookings: Flynn (84) foul